Press Releases

Sheppard Mullin Elects Sixteen Attorneys to Partnership

February 14, 2018

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is pleased to announce that the firm has elevated sixteen of its attorneys to partner.  The new partners are Travis J. Anderson (San Diego (Del Mar)), Townsend L. Bourne (Washington, D.C.), Michael J. Chilleen (Orange County), John D. Edson (San Diego), Harris Gao (Shanghai), J. Aaron George (Washington, D.C.), Katarzyna Levecke (Chicago), Robert Mussig (Los Angeles), Justine M. Phillips (San Diego), Tamar R. Rosenberg (New York), Michael J. Roth (Chicago), Ericka J. Schulz (San Diego (Del Mar)), Robert L. Wernli, Jr. (San Diego (Del Mar)), Cheng Xu (Shanghai), Lai L. Yip (San Francisco and Palo Alto) and Michael X.Y. Zhang (Shanghai).

Travis Anderson is a member of the Labor and Employment and Business Trial practice groups in the firm’s San Diego (Del Mar) office.  Anderson defends employers against various types of employment-related claims, including wrongful termination, whistleblower actions, discrimination, harassment, pay stub claims, wage and hour claims, and contract actions.  Anderson also prosecutes and defends actions involving trade secret claims, unfair competition, and enforcement of restrictive covenants and non-competes. He represents clients in commercial disputes, such as fraud, breach of contract, defamation, unfair competition, and corporate deadlock and dissolution proceedings.  Anderson received a J.D., magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2009 and a B.A., universali cum honore, from Washington University in St. Louis in 2005.

Townsend Bourne is a member of the Government Contracts, Investigations, and International Trade practice group in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Bourne handles complex litigation in connection with the Contract Disputes Act and the False Claims Act, bid protest actions before the GAO and Court of Federal Claims, claims litigation before the Boards of Contract Appeals, investigating and preparing contractor claims, and conducting internal investigations. She also regularly advises clients on compliance with government regulations relating to cybersecurity, the GSA Schedule program, subcontracts and teaming agreements, procurement integrity, and organizational conflicts of interest. She received a J.D., cum laude, from George Mason University School of Law in 2009 and a B.A., summa cum laude, from Vanderbilt University in 2006.

Michael Chilleen is a member of the Business Trial practice group in the firm’s Orange County office. Chilleen specializes in class action defense and disability access discrimination claims under the Americans With Disabilities Act and California state accessibility standards. He represents large corporations, including Starbucks, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, Taco Bell, Home Depot, KFC, the City of Riverside, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Live Nation, Regal Entertainment Group, and more, with respect to disability access claims. Chilleen has extensive trial experience, having tried more than 30 cases to verdict, including several class actions. He received a J.D. from New York Law School in 2000 and a B.A. from Tulane University in 1996.

John Edson is a member of the Business Trial practice group in the firm’s San Diego office. Edson represents insurance companies throughout California that are sued for bad faith, fraud and unfair competition. He specializes in suspicious auto and homeowner claims.  He also provides coverage opinions, conducts examinations under oath, and helps clients with drafting insurance policies and applications. His clients include Wawanesa, Allstate, Infinity and Travelers. Edson received a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law in 1996, a M.A. from Harvard University in 1995 and a B.A. from the University of California, San Diego in 1992.

Harris Gao is a member of the Intellectual Property, Business Trial and Corporate practice groups in the firm’s Shanghai office. Gao focuses his practice on international IP litigation and technology transactions in the technology and life sciences areas, and he is particularly active in assisting Chinese companies and investors in strategic investments and acquisitions overseas for acquiring critical technologies. Gao received a J.D. from Columbia University in 2002, a M.S. from Catholic University of America in 1997 and a B.S. from Tsinghua University in 1994.

Aaron George is a member of the Business Trial practice group in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. He has represented clients in complex business litigation and technical regulatory matters before diverse decision-making authorities, including federal and state courts and administrative tribunals, and at all levels from trial through appeal. These high-stakes commercial disputes and matters have involved statutory, constitutional, communications, privacy, energy, environmental, and administrative law issues. He has special expertise representing communications companies in matters involving state and local franchising, access to rights-of-way, franchise fees, privacy, public access programming, pole attachments, infrastructure deployment, and a host of related issues. He received a J.D., Order of the Coif, from Vanderbilt University Law School in 2008 and a B.A. from Emory University in 2001.

Katarzyna ("Kathy") Levecke is a member of the Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental practice group in the firm's Chicago office. Levecke concentrates her practice on commercial lending transactions, leasing and tax credit transactions, primarily in the renewable energy sector. Levecke has represented numerous developers, debt and equity investors, lessors and lessees in financing and leasing matters. Her experience includes negotiation and due diligence of key project documents and structuring and negotiation of debt and equity investment documents. Levecke received a J.D., summa cum laude, in 2008 and a B.A., with highest honors, in 2005 from DePaul University.

Robert Mussig is a member of the Labor & Employment practice group in the firm’s Los Angeles office. Mussig defends employers in wage and hour class actions and also against claims of discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination. He has handled virtually all aspects of the litigation process, including jury and bench trials, arbitrations and appeals.  He also advises employers on compliance with local, state and federal employment laws and conducts trainings on a variety of employment law-related topics. Mussig received a J.D. in 2005 and a B.A. in 2001 from the University of California, Berkeley.

Justine Phillips is a member of Sheppard Mullin’s Labor and Employment practice group and the Privacy & Cybersecurity team in the firm's San Diego office. Phillips focuses her practice on cybersecurity and employment litigation and counseling. Her representations involve every aspect of cybersecurity, such as handling risk mitigation, incident preparedness and response, conducting privileged technical assessments and investigations, liaising with law enforcement and information governance, conducting diligence in acquisitions/investments, drafting incident response plans, conducting breach simulations, preparing consumer and state notices, responding to regulators, and defending companies in litigation relating to cyber events.  As an employment attorney, she handles all aspects of daily employment matters including advice and litigation on lawful hiring practice, leaves of absence, background checks, drug testing, terminations, and theft of company data. Phillips is a native San Diegan and received her J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of San Diego Law School in 2005 and a B.A. in 1999 from the University of San Diego.

Tamar Rosenberg is a member of the Tax, Employee Benefits, and Trust & Estates practice group in the firm's New York office. Rosenberg has specialized expertise in laws governing nonprofit corporate and tax-exempt organizations and advises on both compliance and transactional matters.  She has represented a wide range of organizations, including hospitals, nursing homes, health plans and other healthcare organizations, as well as universities, research institutes, private foundations, religious organizations, trade associations, environmental conservation organizations, arts organizations, museums, news media organizations and other nonprofits.  She also advises for-profit businesses in their dealings with nonprofit organizations. Rosenberg received a J.D. from New York University School of Law in 2003 and a B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000.

Michael Roth is a member of the Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental practice group in the firm’s Chicago office. Roth concentrates his practice on commercial and residential real estate development throughout the United States, including construction and design contracts, lending and finance, and sales and acquisitions.  He has significant experience representing owners and contractors in negotiating design and construction contracts and has represented numerous local and institutional lenders and borrowers in connection with acquisition and construction financing. He has a particular expertise in hospitality transactions, representing developers, owners and management companies on all aspects of hotel projects.  Roth received a J.D. from Washington University School of Law in 2004 and a B.A. from Truman State University in 1998.

Ericka Jacobs Schulz is a member of the Intellectual Property practice group in the firm's San Diego (Del Mar) office. Schulz represents clients in patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret litigation disputes, as well as patent and trademark portfolio counseling, and due diligence.  She has considerable trial experience throughout the United State and in patent venues, such as Texas, Delaware, New Jersey and California district courts, and the International Trade Commission. She is a registered patent attorney with the USPTO. Schulz represents clients in technical fields, including electrical, software, telecommunications, wireless devices, networking, optics, mechanical, blockchain, medical devices, and dentistry. Schulz received a J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2006, a M.S. in Electrical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo in 2000, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo in 1999.

Robert Wernli is a member of the Corporate practice group in the firm's San Diego (Del Mar) office. Wernli has a broad transactional practice with three main areas of focus: securities, mergers and acquisitions, and joint ventures and strategic alliances. Wernli advises clients on all aspects of SEC reporting and listing exchange compliance matters, corporate governance and general corporate law matters, drawing from both law firm experience and in-house experience, having served as Vice President of a NYSE-listed company in charge of securities law compliance. He has worked on many M&A transactions, representing clients in a broad array of industries.  Wernli also drafts and negotiates complex partnership and LLC agreements that are customary for joint venture and project finance transactions.  He received a J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2002 and a B.A., cum laude, from the University of California, San Diego in 1998.

Cheng Xu is a member of the Corporate practice group in the firm's Shanghai office. Xu’s practice focuses on private equity/venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, as well as general corporate and business law across a wide range of industry sectors, including e-commerce, mobile internet, high technology solutions, social media and gaming, healthcare, and the online to offline platform (and the sharing economy in particular).  Xu advises international private equity firms, strategic investors and emerging companies through all spectrums of growth from offshore and onshore incorporation and multiple rounds of financing, to corporate governance issues and other day-to-day corporate matters. She provides practical and sensible advice that enables clients to successfully navigate the complex landscape surrounding the intersection of Western and Eastern business practices and ideals. Xu received LL.M.s from New York University School of Law and National University of Singapore, a J.D. from Ohio State University and a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University.

Lai Yip is a member of the Intellectual Property practice group in the firm's San Francisco and Palo Alto offices. Yip serves as co-leader of the firm’s China Intellectual Property team. She is an experienced intellectual property litigator, handling a broad range of complex disputes, including high-stakes litigation regarding FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) licensing of standard-essential patents (SEP), trademark infringement, and trade secret misappropriation. Her litigation experience covers all major aspects of the life cycle of a case, including dispositive motion practice, trial, post-trial proceedings, appeal, and enforcement of judgments. Yip received a J.D. from Boston University in 2008 and a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley in 2000. She also studied abroad at the Faculty of Law at the University of Hong Kong in 2007.

Michael Zhang is a member of the Corporate, Antitrust and Intellectual Property practice groups in the firm's Shanghai office. Zhang represents U.S. and European clients with respect to mergers and acquisitions, joint venture projects and operations in China and other regions of Asia. Zhang has represented leading Chinese companies in their outbound equity and asset transactions outside mainland China, primarily in the pharmaceutical, e-commerce and green technology industries. He counsels U.S. and international clients, as well as local Chinese companies on international and PRC antitrust issues. Zhang also handles IP licensing, IP due diligence and corporate IP protection within M&A transactions and joint venture projects. Zhang received a LL.B. from the Law School of Shanghai University of International Business and Economics.